Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hawaiian Honeymoon With My Honey

Well hallelujah, we finally went on our honeymoon. We had intended to wait a while, just not quite so long. See, we spent 4 months fixing our house up before we got married, so when we tied the knot and finally got to move in, we didn't want to immediately head out of town. Our original plan was to go on our honeymoon in Fall of 2013, but then August came and went... then September, October, November... and we found ourselves in the midst of the holidays. Finally, we pulled the trigger and booked the flights! 

This is a truncated version of all of the pictures I took... the rest you can find on Facebook later this week. These pictures are a combination of iPhone pictures, pictures from a waterproof disposable camera (because we were going on adventures in the rain), and my DSLR camera. Ready? Here we go! First up, we headed to Kauai.

We fit 10 days worth of honeymoon necessities into carry-ons! The key is to not fold anything--I lay
all of my clothes flat and it saves a ton of room and avoids wrinkles

John is a Longhorns fan. X3.

So thankful and lucky that we got free upgrades to first class on the way
to and from Hawaii thanks to my dad!

The Hawaiian version of a highway.

We were extremely lucky to stay at a gorgeous hotel, thanks to the discounted kama'aina rate I get from having a local ID. We stayed at the Koa Kea, and had a wonderful experience. If you're ever in Kauai and want to stay at a beach front resort that doesn't feel like they worked too hard to make it look tropical, this is your place. The service was top notch, and they let the island speak for itself (no fake waterfalls or anything else that felt contrived).

Our hotel room & lanai.

View of the beach & surfers from our hotel.

View of the beach from our hotel.

First night at the hotel--enjoying the sunset and the ocean.

View of the beach from our hotel.

Stroll on the beach!

Crystal clear!

View of the beach from our hotel.

We started each morning by walking up and down the beach.

Dinner at the hotel restaurant, the Red Salt.

The picture below is of my favorite spot on the entire island. This Kauai's version of a bus stop: a sign, hand-painted bench, lawn chair, and the most gorgeous and lush bush I've ever seen. Doesn't it just make you feel relaxed? Like maybe the bus is going to be late, and not only is it expected, it's alright?

Hand-painted bus stop bench.

The East Shore.

The East Shore.

The East Shore.

Dinner at the neighboring hotel--the Grand Hyatt. That's the place to go if
you want to go to Kauai and not leave the hotel (which, in my opinion,
makes flying there pointless to begin with).

The biggest adventure of our entire trip was going zip lining with Outfitters Kauai. As with everything, we did tons and tons of research, and decided they were the best of the best. Their 9 lines took us over Kipu Ranch, which is 4000 acres of jungles, valleys, and rivers, and is where Jurassic Park and The Descendants were filmed. Their longest line was a 1,800 feet of tandem zipping. I was more excited about this expedition than anything... that is, until we got there. Then, we got geared up, and I was thrown off a cliff (but really). I was actually sure that I was going to die, because I was going so fast. Really, y'all, their lines were so long that we got going really, really fast, and there's no way to slow down until you reach the end. As you can tell, I survived, but I wouldn't have put my money on it. Luckily by the 9th and longest line, I was slightly less terrified. Slightly.

Naively excited: pre-zipping.

See how much fun John was having?!

Meanwhile, I was petrified.

Zipping over the tree tops.

The smaller you made yourself, the faster you'd go.

So high! AHHH.

At the end of the lines, we zipped into this pond in the middle of the mountains.

Kilauea Lighthouse, East Shore.

Waimea Canyon, West Shore.

Waimea Canyon, West Shore.

Waimea Canyon, West Shore.

Road down from Waimea Canyon.

Mmmm... shave ice! Mango, strawberry, and lilikoi for me;
mango, strawberry, and pineapple for John.

Our second biggest adventure was a sunset boat cruise that we booked with Captain Andy. The cruise started out with lots of rain, but the sun came out and we got to see a very nice rainbow. The catamaran was lovely (I wish I had taken a picture)--it had a bar, indoor seating, and outdoor seating. The chef made salads to start, NY strip steaks & shrimp for our entree, and cheesecake for dessert. It was wonderful! We also saw lots of whales along the coastline, which was my first time to go whale watching. The best part though, was the view of the Na Pali coast, which you can only see via boat or helicopter. It was truly breathtaking. 

A lovely rainbow once the sun came out.

Whales off of the Na Pali Coast.

Na Pali Coast

Na Pali Coast

Na Pali Coast

Sunset boat cruise

For the second half of the trip, we headed to Honolulu, Oahu. Because my dad grew up there, we have family that live on the island as well as lots of his childhood friends. We're very lucky to be able to stay in my grandparents' old house which made the trip significantly more affordable. Again, I wish I had gotten a picture of it, but it's a pretty, white and blue house that they built about 15 years ago. It's where the majority of my childhood memories with them took place (some of my favorites were making plumeria leis with my grandmother, hearing war stories from my grandfather, and going through his collection of coins that he gathered from around the world during WWII, Viet Nam, and Korea), so it's a place that's very special to me, especially since they don't live in it anymore.

Hawaiian Airlines had very, very shallow seats. John's 6'4" self almost didn't fit.

Arriving on Oahu

During the whole trip, we ate, and ate, and ate... time to hit the gym.
After standing in 5 separate lines for many hours, we finally got my ID renewed.
And for the record, all 5 of those lines were necessary, not by mistake. 

Dinner with family friends: my dad's childhood friend Mark--who
went to Punaho with my dad--and Mark's wife, Lynn.

We played lots of Rummy, and unfortunately for John, he did not win a single game.
Better luck next time, babe. We need to work on that strategy!

One of my most valued treasures: my grandfather's flight jacket.

My grandmother, Stella Pung Mendez, who will turn 90 this year!
It was a wonderful trip! Kauai was very laid back with lots of one-lane bridges (where you actually have to wait for a break in cars coming from the other direction so you can drive over), beautiful scenery, and slow-paced people. It was the perfect place to unwind and feel connected to each other. Honolulu has much more of a big-city feel (compared to Kauai, at least), with wonderful food and lots of friends. Next time we visit Hawaii, I want to go to Maui or the Big Island to see something new. New is my favorite :)

Where have y'all been recently? Any new cities? Thinking about the different culture and lifestyle of wherever I'm visiting is my favorite part about traveling. What do you love most? The scenery? The food? Tell me!

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